The night before, I had a frightening moment, when something in the expression on his face, or the exact timber of his voice on a particular word, something reminded me of less-good places I have been, beds I have been trapped in, and for a moment, I felt trapped and afraid, and then it was gone again. I don't think it was the first time that has happened, but it was the first time I recognized what was happening. And I told myself, that was a trigger. I am all right. And it was true. It is true.
But, in his bed again the next night, an Ani song came up on the playlist, and when she sang
just the thought of our bed
makes me crumble like the plaster
where you punched the wall beside my bed
I remembered the fear, and I felt angry and broken, because it was nearly half my life ago and that boy has no right to make me feel this way, because he is gone, and not here and now where I am cared for and safe and strong. I know that people have triggers, I am used to stepping around warning signs, but they were always for someone else. And what I realized in that brief, nauseating, moment, was that I am someone else. I am someone with triggers.
And so I pulled my arms in around my chest and turned my face to the pillow and when he tried to kiss me I pulled back and away and he said, "You're trying to tell me that you're tired and I should let you sleep, huh?"
I could have said nothing. I mean, I did say nothing, but I could have kept saying nothing and everything would have been okay. But staying silent means I don't trust you, and speaking means I do.
I tried to measure the emotional weight of action versus inaction. Would I have told H— what I was thinking? Boy One or Satanist Dan? Am I willing to say something because I secretly like being someone with a dark past, or is this symptomatic of something deeper, something like the immediate familiarity of his bed that lets me sleep in it and really sleep? I worried because, as much as I've said, I'm in, I'm still not sure how I feel. Sometimes it's as if I can feel the Sell By date embossed in the palm of his hand.
But, as he closed his eyes and let me sleep, the words I wasn't saying kept circling around in my mouth, testing the edges of my teeth, my resolve.
And so I told him. More than I'd meant to, even. Because that's what happens.